Anthony Andrews has been having a ball enjoying the accolades and awards raining down on “The King’s Speech,” which he terms “just extraordinary. I changed plans to be a part of the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which were preceded by the Directors Guild’s — a tremendous achievement for Tom Hooper — and from that point on, the little Ferrari really took off. It’s been a whirlwind, even though I’m only a tiny part of it,” says the esteemed British actor of “Brideshead Revisited” and myriad other acclaimed productions, who plays Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin in the Oscar favorite. “We’ve had time to hook up again as a cast, and I’m happy to be back together.”
Andrews has a distinction from his cast mates, in that this is by no means the first time he’s visited the particular piece of history depicted in “The King’s Speech.”
“It’s weird, because I’ve done it three times now — first with Jane Seymour in ‘The Woman He Loved.’ She and I had the impossible task then, of recreating Edward and Mrs. Simpson. It was a lovely made-for-television film and it had an entirely different slant, looking at the story as a romance, rather than as a political upset, though the abdication had to be in there, of course.”
Andrews played George VI himself in the British mini-series “Cambridge Spies,” about “the birth of the spy schools that grew up in Cambridge of the 1930s.”
And now, as Baldwin, who was determined to avoid war at any cost as Hitler was cranking up his military machine, Andrews found himself back in that time and space again. “As in the play, (ital.) The King’s Speech (end ital.), the story is really about the relationship between two guys working to overcome a common problem. It’s the strength of the relationship between these two” — Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush.
Andrews notes that one scene that got cut had the dignitaries of the day lining up to sign the new king’s accession papers, and figuratively sort of placing their bets on whether the tongue-tied younger brother could make it. “It was interesting, but something always has to go when you make a film, and it had to go.” Perhaps it will show up as a special feature when the DVD comes out in April.
Andrews is now taking a little break from the revelry. “I’m off back to the U.K. mid week. I want to persuade my dog to think ‘I still have a master,’ to say nothing of my children.” He jovially notes that his son and two daughters are all but grownup now, “but they still like to see Papa now and again.”